Is Time for the “Keys” Talk?
You probably remember when you first learned to drive. Your parents probably sat in the passenger seat pumping imaginary brakes and gripping the door handle. Maybe you helped your own children learn to drive and called your parents to say you understood their fear. Over time new drivers improve their skill and learn to anticipate what could happen on the road. However, as we age, our reactions slow and our ability to drive safely may be in question. This is one more instance where the child/parent role seems to shift. As loving children it becomes our responsibility to keep our parents safe. So, how do you know when it is time to have that talk… about taking the keys?
AARP is a great resource for living active lives well into our senior years. They have compiled a list of warning signs to watch for when you think you might need to start the conversation about safety and driving with an older member of your family.
Here are a few key things to watch:
- Delayed response to unexpected situations
- Becoming easily distracted while driving
- Decrease in confidence while driving
- Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic
- Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up
- Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox
- Having frequent close calls
- Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions
If you think you may need to start this conversation, take a test drive drive with your loved one. If there have been some accidents, you may want to consult their doctor, as well. Just as we didn’t like these conversations when we were learning to drive, the reverse conversation isn’t much fun either. However, if you have a plan for how they can still be independent, it might be received well. Remember, this is about their safety, and the safety of others on the road. It also may be an opportunity for family members to spend some quality time together doing some fun things!